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WIRC Gets Federal Funding Boost

Emily Boyer

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration awarded the Western Illinois Regional Council $5,300 more for the new fiscal year than it did the previous year.

“This is the most we have ever received and probably will ever receive on an annual basis,” said Suzan Nash, WIRC’s Executive Director.

For the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1, the Regional Council will receive $53,000 from the DOC.

The increase will help the WIRC to once again host a grant opportunities workshop. The event was canceled this past year due to a lack funds.

“Hopefully, since we are receiving our full allocation this next year, we are hoping to be able to implement that again,” Nash said.

The workshop is offered to local governments, economic developers and public employees from the region.

“We bring in a variety of speakers from a variety of agencies and they talk about the funding they have available that communities and counties and units of government may be eligible to request for a variety of specific projects,” Nash said.

Nash said the workshop has been well attended in the past. A portion of the most recent workshop focused on Emerald Ash Borer.

“They talked about the cost of what that disease can mean in terms of losing trees and the value of protecting properties,” Nash said.

She said the money from the DOC makes up very much of WIRC’s annual budget.

“But it is paramount to us because it allows us to work with so many communities and units of government in our counties that we might not be able to otherwise,” Nash said.

Nash said she will have a better idea of how the organization’s budget is looking overall closer to the end of the year.

Emily Boyer is a former reporter at Tri States Public Radio.